ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4K
AMD entered the second day of CES with a formal unveiling for the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4000 series of notebook graphics chips. The new wave of hardware is based on the same core architecture as the desktop 4000 series and in many cases are much faster for the power used than earlier generations; AMD estimates that performance is as much as twice as fast on a given part versus its 3000 series ancestor. Much of the gain comes from both a cooler 55 nanometer proccess as well an increased number of stream (graphics) units, with the top-end Mobility Radeon HD 4870 and 4850 carrying 800 of the effects generators versus just 320 on the 3870.
Dell XPS 625
Dell today used CES to launch its first gaming desktop to use AMD processors in place of Intel's. The XPS 625 mid-tower shares the same custom-lit aluminum case as the XPS 630 but switches to an AMD 790FX-based mainboard and can be equipped with one of several overclockable Black Edition processors up to and including the 3GHz, quad-core Phenom II just introduced at the same time. All video card picks are equally AMD-based and scale up to dual Radeon HD 4850 cards in CrossFire mode.
No hybrid graphics in Win7
A Thursday report warns Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system will not support hybrid dual-graphics systems currently on the market from NVIDIA and AMD. The news came after a review of Microsoft's Guidelines for Graphics in Windows 7 document released on Wednesday, which read Windows 7 will not offer native support for the systems, listing unstable and poor user experience as reasons for the exclusion. The software make added it would 'strongly discourage system manufacturers from shipping such systems' and noted these systems would require a reboot to switch between GPUs.
AMD 790GX Chipset
AMD on Wednesday sought to please two extremes of computer users at once through the unveiling of its 790GX mainboard chipset. The platform is focused on gamers and includes a new southbridge chip that allows overclocking Phenom Black Edition processors without entering the BIOS; it also supports CrossFire for up to two add-in Radeon HD video cards. However, even entry users are accomodated, AMD says: the chipset integrates the new Radeon HD 3300, which is billed as the fastest onboard graphics system available. Tests have it competing with some recent stand-alone cards, while AMD says it can support both modern 3D effects as well as hardware decoding of 1080p video.
NVIDIA May Exit Chipsets
(Updated with analyst commentary) NVIDIA may quit the mainboard chipset industry entirely just as it's rumored to be expanding into new areas, if a claim from companies producing the final mainboards themselves. The California-based creator of the nForce line has allegedly held a meeting this week to determine whether it should continue producing chipsets at all but has been met with "silence," hinting both that NVIDIA was already considering an exit but also that weak demand gives it little reason to continue.
Dell XPS 630
Dell today took the wraps from the XPS 630 (site live soon), its bridge between the mainstream XPS 420 desktop and the higher-end XPS 720. The tower computer is designed to run affordable components but is also made for headroom as gamers look to improve their systems; every model has a mainboard capable of dual video cards (either AMD's CrossFire or NVIDIA's SLI) as well as a 750-watt power supply capable of handling both the video cards as well an overclockable Intel processor and high-speed RAM from Corsair.